On Friday, it was announced during a press conference that the Calgary Flames have accepted the resignation of Bill Peters. Geoff Ward will serve as interim head coach and Peters will be out as head coach effective immediately.
The official announcement from the Flames reads:
This morning, #Flames GM Brad Treliving received and accepted a letter of resignation from Bill Peters: “Effective immediately, Bill Peters is no longer a member of the Calgary Flames organization.”
Treliving said during the press conference that the investigation was something that took time, it was important to be thorough and he walked the media through the steps that were taken as this determination about Peters’ future unfolded.
The reality is, this was probably a kind gesture on the part of the Flames who likely had no choice but to remove Peters in the wake of reports citing racial insensitivity, physical abuse and other allegations by former players and admissions from current Carolina head coach Rod Brind’Amour that such allegations took place.
The Peters Allegations
While Elliotte Friedman reported Thursday that Peters was still employed by the organization but not with them on their current road trip, Frank Seravalli of TSN broke the news that Peters would be out as coach early Friday morning.
The removal was the result of a completed investigation by the Flames over a number of days and regarding allegations brought forward by former NHL player Akim Aliu. Aliu shared details of racist remarks uttered by Peters during a time Aliu had him as coach. Those allegations were witnessed by other former players who backed Aliu’s claims.
Peters then wrote a letter to GM Brad Treliving during a Buffalo Sabres game — a statement that was also released to media —, apologizing for remarks he made a decade ago and had apparently apologized for. Aliu noted that he took issue with Peters official statement, calling it misleading and was asked to meet with the NHL, which he accepted.
There were additional allegations of physical abuse from former players too. Michal Jordan, who played for the Hurricanes under Peters between 2014-16, alleged that Peters physically abused him and other players on the bench. Current Hurricanes’ coach Rod Brind’Amour admitted in an interview that the incidences took place but that the team had dealt with the issues at the time and they were not issues again beyond that.
Both the Flames and Peters have realized, they, in fact, were issues that couldn’t be ignored.
The Fallout of the Peters Incidences
These allegations were something that was going to need to be addressed by the Calgary Flames and the easiest (there is no easy in a situation like this) thing to do was to let Peters resign. But, what does this mean for the NHL moving forward?
More allegations may be coming to light about other coaches or people in authority positions on NHL teams and former stories about previous coaches are starting to make their way into public forums. This is not an issue the NHL can afford to take lightly.
Whether it’s incidences of emotional abuse, racist remarks or physical incidences that shouldn’t exist in any locker room or bench environment, players now know they have a voice and may choose to use platforms like Twitter or interviews with media to share their message.
There are also legal concerns for teams and the league moving forward. Treliving said, “Please bare with me and please understand that there’s information that I can’t get into. There may be questions that I cannot answer.” This is likely because anything that get said may be part of legal proceedings in the future, should any of the players involved in these allegations bring forth legal action, the NHL and the teams involved need to protect themselves.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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